There are many texts available to help you learn Python or refine
your Python knowledge, from introductory texts all the way to quite
formal language descriptions.
We recommend the following books for general information about Python:
Learning Python, by Mark Lutz and David Ascher
(O'Reilly), is a thorough introduction to the
fundamentals of the Python language.
Python Standard Library, by Fredrik Lundh
(O'Reilly), provides a use case for each module in
the rich library that comes with every standard Python distribution.
Programming Python, by Mark Lutz
(O'Reilly), is a thorough rundown of Python
The forthcoming Python in a Nutshell, by Alex
Martelli (O'Reilly), is a comprehensive quick
reference to the Python language and the key libraries used by most
Python Essential Reference, by David Beazley
(New Riders), is a quick reference that focuses on the Python
language and the core Python libraries.
In addition, there are a few more special-purpose books that help you
explore particular aspects of Python programming:
Python & XML, by Christopher A. Jones and
Fred L. Drake, Jr. (O'Reilly), covers everything
there is to know about how to use Python to read, process, and
Jython Essentials, by Samuele Pedroni and Noel
Rappin (O'Reilly), is the authoritative book on
Jython, the port of Python to the Java Virtual Machine (JVM).
Python Web Programming, by Steve Holden (New
Riders), covers building networked systems using Python.
In addition to these books, there are other important sources of
information that can help explain some of the code in the recipes in
this book. We've pointed out the information that
seemed particularly relevant in the "See
Also" sections of each recipe. In these sections, we
often refer to the standard Python documentation: the
Library Reference, the Reference
Manual, and occasionally the
Tutorial. This documentation is available in a
variety of media:
On the python.org web site (at http://www.python.org/doc/), which always
contains the most up-to-date, if sometimes dry, description of the
In Python itself. Recent versions of Python boast a nice online help
system, which is worth exploring if you've never
used it. Just type help( ) at the interactive
prompt to start exploring.
As part of the online help in your Python installation.
ActivePython's installer, for example, includes a
searchable Windows Help file. The standard Python distribution
currently includes HTML pages, but there are plans to include a
similar Windows Help file in future releases.
Note that we have not included section numbers in our references to
the standard Python documentation, since the organization of these
manuals can change from release to release. You should be able to use
the table of contents and indexes to find the relevant material.